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Films: B is for...


Peter Cook’s leap up cinema’s creative pecking order from the purgatory of Wrong Box cameo work takes the same shape as many an entry in this genre – its episodic structure gives the film the appearance more of a themed sketch show than a conventionally progressing plot. In this case it’s the simple tale of Cook’s suave Devil giving Dudley Moore’s burger flipper seven catch-ridden chances to better himself, leading to seven disparate sketches. Not a satisfying narrative in the old style, but the linear progression from one incarnation of Dud to the next is handled with expert comic nous. The scene where Dud and Eleanor Bron commit tearful adultery in Cook’s limo is both funny and oddly moving in a way many conventional romantic comedies would give whole worlds to achieve.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    If ‘heaven’ looks suspiciously like Syon Park, that’s because it is.

  2. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    Absolutely astonishing how this was considered a flop on its original release – possibly because reviewers (to say nothing of audiences) were expecting more of the cloth caps, raincoats, and giggly fulminations on the subject of bloody Greta Garbo / ducks in the morning, ducks in the evening, ducks in the summertime / Dud’s ‘dirty cow’ Aunt Dolly / busty substances over curly sandwiches and pints of bitter. What they got was Cook effectively playing himself – a suave, witty, attractive club owner with a wicked streak – gently taking Moore’s love-struck loser to the cleaner’s, several times over, in a variety of ingenious settings. The animated sequence with the two flies is a bit rubbish, but that aside, it’s as perfect a strip of celluloid as ever emerged from these shores. Brilliant musical score, too.

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